November 18, 2016
Lang Nuong Vietnam is touted as the first Vietnamese barbecue joint in Singapore, and we won’t deny them of that title. But, we’d like to add ‘authentic’, and ‘some of the best damned Southern Vietnamese fare in Singapore’ as well, after increasing the offerings on their menu.
I hate throwing the word ‘authentic’ around loosely. However, Lang Nuong Vietnam is as authentic as it gets short of buying a ticket to Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as the locals prefer to call it.
The ambience of Lang Nuong Vietnam was purposefully recreated by owner Dezmond. Everything from the vertically challenged stools and tables, to the fans without covers. Heck even the rolls of toilet paper in their plastic dispensers at each table will remind you of Vietnam.
Cooking with charcoal makes a world of difference. Ceramic pots of charcoal and chicken wire for a grill, you won’t find fancy contraptions like you would at mookata or korean barbecue joints. We watched eagerly as the flames licked the seafood and various cuts of meat that lay before us.
The premium meat platter 2 pax ($39.90) comes with slices of pork collar, belly, chicken thigh, seafood and a side of vegetables. Quality produce makes it great, however, the magic is in the marinate and condiments. Sweet, savoury and pungent, the condiments and sauces here are the real deal.
Just to prove how great the dipping sauces were, I’m dedicating a paragraph to them. The creamy looking green sauce as we learnt, goes best with seafood, or as we realized as the night wore on, pretty much everything.
The orange option is pungent and salty, like a heady version of doubanjiang with fermented shrimp sauce, while the red is simply chilli sauce — no prizes for guessing.
Being the first place in Singapore serving Vietnamese barbecue attracted in the initial reviews and excitement. Over the past year or so, Dezmond, together with his Vietnamese kitchen staff have put together an impressive menu of dishes you’ll find if you were to wander the streets of Saigon.
We’re not saying forget about the pho ga (chicken pho $7.90) or pho dac biet (special beef noodles $8.90) but, you’ll be glad bun bo hue (special beef rice noodle $8.90) exists, as it adds variety. Spicy and salty, the broth is punchy. That being said, this is perfect comfort food, because don’t we all love being roughed up a little?
Goi cuon (fresh springrolls 4pcs $6.90) is another Southern Vietnamese staple. Served cool or at room temperature, the goi cuon Lang Nuang Vietnam are generously filled and packed perfectly. However, go for the cha gio (fried springrolls 4pcs $6.90) if you’re turned off by cold food or any form of raw greens.
At every corner, along every street, and even the darkest of alleys in Saigon, you’ll find someone making and selling com suon trung op la (pork chop rice set $8.90). The perfectly sweet and sticky chops are barbecued till attaining the right amount of charring.
Broken rice used for com suon trung was more of a circumstance in the past. However, it is now packaged, sold and consumed for its texture. As I chewed on a spoonful of it, my face probably looked ridiculously pleased for someone eating rice.
The rice is cooked on a stove as opposed to a rice-cooker, highlighting the effort this establishment takes to deliver on every level of authenticity possible.
Jet black ca phe sua nong (hot Vietnamese coffee $5.50) is quintessentially Vietnamese. Rich, dark and chocolatey, I haven’t figured how to brew my personal stash of Vietnamese coffee grounds to produce a cup that’ll take my mind on a trip, to Vietnam. So for now, I’ll be paying Lang Nuong Vietnam for cups of black gold.
The best thing colonialists left behind in Asia? Their cuisine. Bahn flan ($2.90) is like a panna cotta served with crudely crushed ice and a shot of intense Vietnamese coffee.
Having an obsession with Vietnam, I’m always game to check out new joints serving up their cuisine. Lang Nuong Vietnam left me grinning from ear to ear, and will stave off withdrawal symptoms of anyone equally obsessed till they find themselves back in this culturally rich country.
Expected Damage: $20 – $30 per pax